The wait is over as the news of Fox's latest series, The Cleaning Lady is renewed for a second season. As the series was the network's highest-rated drama premiere the last couple years, it is also one of the Top 5 new broadcast drama this TV season and Hulu's most-streamed Fox debut. The drama series focuses on Thony, played by Elodie Yung, a Cambodian doctor who lived in Manila with her family, but came to the U.S. seeking medical treatment to save her son.
As much as Thony is a force of nature, a failing system forces her into hiding and becomes a cleaning lady for the mob. The drama begins as she starts playing by her own rules and refuses to be marginalized. Elodie is joined by Fil-Aussie actor, Martha Millan, Adan Canto, Oliver Hudson, Jay Mohr, Liza Weil, and Shiva Negar. The show takes on many social issues found today and brings a "sharp perspective brought on by the cast," the President of Fox Entertainment, Michael Thorn explains (Deadline).
There are many mentions of the Filipino culture throughout the season as executive producer Shay Mitchell (Pretty Little Liars) not only wanted a diverse cast, but also to tell a story that's familiar for many Filipinos. Other Filipinos who contributed include Ruby Ibarra who been partnered up with the network to create new songs for the whole series alongside Mark Isham and Nick Isham; Manila born and raised, writer-director Marie Jamora directed Episode 6, "Mother's Mission" while actors and father/daughter duo Lou Diamond and Gracie Phillips guest stared on Episode 4 titled "Kabayan."
Cover Photo Credit: Martha Millan Instagram
If you tuned in this week's to one of Fox's most watched show, The Cleaning Lady, it highlighted many Filipino elements. Guest stars, father and daughter Lou Diamond Phillips and Gracie Phillips added to the family narrative of the show. The Fil-Am actors contributed to the Filipino elements of the show by speaking Tagalog and sharing relatable family stories.
This was the first time veteran actor Lou Diamond Phillips acted together with his daughter Gracie, telling TV Line it was "incredibly natural" for the both of them. “It was just so wonderful. I had no doubt that we would have instant chemistry and a shorthand to work with.” The father-daughter duo only had one scene together, but the entire episode led to that moment. His character, Joe is an anonymous bone marrow donor who backed out of the procedure for Thony's son, Luca. With a change of heart at the end because of a Filipino lullaby similar to "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," it led to a reunion between him and his daughter.
The episode showed a few commonalities between the main characters and the Phillips' characters. Sometime we all need a reminder of where we came from and how we got to where we are. They talk about how Fiona's cooking reminds him of his Lola's, how their home is similar to his childhood home, and how the lullaby Thony sang to Luca was the same song his wife sang to Grace.
It's not often we see this much Filipino-ness anywhere on media so it's both surprising and fun to see. This episode still carried the overarching plot of the show, but it was refreshing to see how much thought went into making sure the details were right. Even the episode title name is named, "Kabayan" which means fellow country men.
Miranda Kwok created and produced the first primetime drama on Fox that stars an Asian woman. The show is based on an Argentinian series, “La Chica Que Limpia” but she pitched it to Fox to have Southeast Asian leads to break the stereotype. "What I wanted to do was … just show people that no matter who you are, where you’re from or what profession you’ve had, everyone deserves the same amount of respect and dignity.” Each episode so far brings new perspective on the immigrant story.
If you haven't yet seen The Cleaning Lady, catch it on Mondays on Fox at 9PM. It's worth a watch!
Cover Photo Credit: Gracie Phillips Instagram